Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussed Apple’s digital hub strategy in his keynote at Macworld Conference & Expo in New York — and introduced
iTunes and the iPod device helped Apple win a Grammy this year; over 14 million copies have been distributed so far, he said in announcing version trois. iTunes 3 such new features as Smart Playlists, Sound Check for consistent volume playback and support for audio programming from Audible.com.
Smart Playlists are playlists that automatically and dynamically update their songs based on simple rules set by the user. It’s similar to the way e-mail apps use filters. For example, a user can specify that a Smart Playlist contain every song by a given artist, and when new songs by that artist are added to iTunes’ music library, they will automatically appear in this playlist. Or, a user can specify that a Smart Playlist contain their 25 most-listened-to songs, which will be dynamically selected based on the up-to-the-minute play counts for all the songs in their iTunes library.
“Smart playlists will change the way we listen to music,” Jobs said.
In iTunes 3, Smart Playlists make it easy for customers to automatically create mixes of their favorite songs from their music library based on any criteria they choose — artist, genre, play count, release date, and more, Jobs said. These mixes can dynamically change and grow as the user’s music library grows, he added. Smart Playlists work with iTunes’ new song rating feature so that users can identify their favorite music and have it automatically added to a Smart Playlist for playback on their Mac or their iPod.
With support for Audible content, iTunes 3 lets Mac users access a broad range of audio programming over the Internet. Through Audible.com, customers can choose from over 4,500 audiobooks and 14,000 other audio programs, including national best sellers, classics and daily highlights from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Jobs said. With iTunes 3 and iPod, Mac users have the flexibility to listen to Audible content whenever and wherever they want, he added. Both iTunes 3 and iPod also support Sound Check, which automatically adjusts the volume of songs for a more consistent listening experience.
iTunes 3 requires Mac OS X version 10.1.4 or later and is available immediately as a free download.